Top 10 Ways Single Parents Can Enhance Their Children’s Happiness And Well-being

By Lauren Nicholson on May 16, 2012

Recent statistics from the EU’s statistical arm have revealed that in Britain, more children are being raised in single-parent families than in many other major European countries, with figures showing as many as one out of five children living with either just mum or dad. Studies have found that children are doubly at risk of developing a mental disorder than those who are raised by married or cohabiting couples.

While this may present such a dismal prospect, fortunately, there are many things that single parents can do to overcome the odds and improve their children’s chances at happiness and well-being.

1. Stay optimistic, whatever happens.

How you face the adversities in your life will most likely be passed on to your children. They, too, will acquire an attitude of optimism if they witness it and live by it through the way you yourself handle life’s challenges.

2. Be a problem-solver.

Actively seek solutions to problems. Find ways to make things work. If you live by this, your children will come to understand that they can also solve their own problems.

3. Maintain traditions and routines.

Provide consistency and stability for your children by keeping up traditions and routines. Regularity and predictability are key to your child’s well-being.

4. Continue to enforce standards of discipline and proper behaviour from your children.

Validate your children’s possible feelings of anger and resentment but do not condone acting out and engaging in disrespectful behaviour. Establishing clear rules with limits and consistently enforcing consequences for non-compliance will give your children the structure and continuity that they need.

5. Keep lines of communication open.

You and your children will have a lot of thoughts, feelings, and fears on your minds, especially during the period immediately after the physical separation from the other parent. Discussing these on a reciprocal level will validate you and your children’s perspectives and give you the chance to correct misconceptions that they may have.

6. Spend quality time with your children.

Single-handedly managing a household can be time-consuming and taxing on a parent. Make sure that you always have the energy and proper disposition to spend time with your children doing things that they enjoy.

7. Take good care of yourself. 

Taking care of your own physical and emotional health is very important. Work, exercise, enjoy a hobby, and go out with friends. Your children need to know that you are okay and that they can lean on you for support when they need to.

8. Do not involve your children in disputes between you and your ex-spouse.

Do not let your children serve as a courier between you and your ex-spouse, especially if messages are bitter and resentful. Do not ever let them get caught in the crossfire and never ask them to choose sides. Discussing your ex’s faults is a strict no-no.

9. Encourage your children to cultivate meaningful relationships with the other parent and his / her kin.

It will help your children to know that the quality of your relationship with your ex-spouse is confined to you and does not necessarily reflect the quality of relationship they can have with each other.  The fact that it did not work out between you and your spouse does not mean that your spouse cannot be a great parent to your children. Knowing that you are supportive of their relationship will allow your children to enjoy their time together without feeling guilty.

10. Make plans for the future.

Making plans and having goals help children focus on a bright future rather than delve on a painful past or a possibly difficult present. Looking forward to the future also provides children with the sense that they can control what happens to them and that they are not merely victims of circumstance.

Happiness and well-being need not elude children from single-parent homes. Apparently, such children still have a wealth of resources that they can draw from, and it all starts with you.

 

Sources of this article:

Papalia, D.E., Olds, S. W., & Feldman, R. D. (1999). A Child’s World: Infancy Through Adolescence. Boston: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

http://www.wpen.net/PDF/PENNotes/25SuccessfulSingleParenting0709.pdf

http://greatparentingpractices.com/raising-happy-kids-as-a-single-parent/

http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=114&np=99&id=1706

http://www.gingerbread.org.uk/content.aspx?CategoryID=365

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2079623/One-British-children-lives-just-mum-dad--Europe.html)

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:aEleP6dY-SEJ:www.counselling-directory.org.uk/familystats.html+single-parent+home+children+mental+health&cd=8&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk)

 

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